Jess Meister

Web/UX Professional | Chicago

About Me

I make the web a better place and help others do so as well.

About Me

I am a self-taught web generalist who got my start adapting news stories for the web and fangirling out over Jakob Nielsen's Alert Box feed. For the last decade, I've worked toward making the web a better place by building user-friendly websites and teaching others how to do so as well, because technology should be for everyone.

I learn by doing and most of my web-based skills have been acquired on-the-job. I also hold a master's degree and graduate certificate in Professional and Technical Writing from Northern Illinois University, where I took a seminar course on Usability Testing and other classes focused on creating better experiences for everyone, on and offline.

I believe that content should come first, user testing should be iterative, decisions should be data-driven, and that success is measurable when you set goals and evaluate progress.

Skill Set


UX Design

JavaScript & PHP


Information Architecture

Content Strategy

Wordpress Development


Interests & Hobbies

Coffee, biking, beer, and baking, though generally not all at the same time. During the summer of 2017, I participated in RAGBRAI XLV and spent a week biking across Iowa.

Me smiling with my cycling team during RAGBRAI 2017.

I also enjoy playing board games, especially strategy-based and/or Euro-style games with creative themes and unique play mechanics.

My Research & Build Process

The process I've outlined here is generally how I go about designing new web projects for launch. However, my approach is not linear: many strategies are repeated as needed in order to create the best possible outcome.

Phase 1

Evaluate the Project

No project is the same and design is never a one-size-fits all process. I like to start by understanding where we are today and where we need to go for a better UX.

Phase 2

Learn from the Experts

It’s important to do your homework and research other people’s work. Chances are that someone, somewhere has done a similar project or worked with the same target audience.

Phase 3

Structure & Prioritize Content

Even if it’s just an ordered list of topics, I’ve found that having myself or others prioritize content (no ties allowed!) helps build a better information architecture.

Phase 4

Build Wireframes & Prototypes

Once the content is mostly known, structured, and roughly drafted, then I will build out a wireframe with varying levels of fidelity depending on the project scope.

Phase 5

Test With Users

Ideally, I’d love to be able to test a design with representative users 100% of the time. However, my belief is that testing with any users is still 100% better than testing with none.

Phase 6

Launch & Evaluate the Project

Why yes, this step is the same as Phase 1. My belief is that an iterative research & design process creates the best user experience, so earnest evaluation should be ongoing for every project.

My Work

User-Centered, Responsive Redesign of a Consumer Health Website

User-Centered, Responsive Redesign of a Consumer Health Website

I took a data-driven approach to this project, conducting usability testing on a health-focused website and incorporating those study insights into a website redesign.

See the Project
Building a UX/Web Team As a Department of One

Building a UX/Web Strategy Team As a Department of One

I formed a UX/Web team to improve the information architecture of our website, leading persona development, card sorting, and competitor analysis projects.

See the Project
Usability Testing & Recommendations for a Business/Finance NGO

Usability Testing & Recommendations for a Business/Finance NGO

As part of a seminar on Usability Testing, my team and I conducted a usability study and made recommendations for a business & finance non-profit organization's website.

See the Project